Christology: January 2009 Archives

The Church has judged that Jesuit Father Roger Haight's writings are beyond the limits of orthodox theological reflection on the nature of Christ (Christology).

Either one is a Catholic theologian teaching orthodox theology or you don't teach. The problem with Father Haight is that Church's objectivity is reduced to school yard monitor and while he is an ordained Catholic priest, Haight very rarely celebrates the Mass. AND then there is his own admission that he considers himself not a Catholic theologian but a Christian theologian. I suppose that's what you get when a Catholic priest destined to teach priesthood candidates is educated by the Baptists. The objectivity of the Faith means something: one, holy, catholic and apostolic for starters.

Once asked if he would revise his thinking/publications sentire cum Ecclesiae so that he could be missioned by the Jesuits to teach, Father Haight told two scores of Jesuit seminarians that he would not do so. I guess that is what is called by many Jesuits "loyal opposition to the Church." Of course, if you understand the Church to be a sacrament founded by Christ then saying no to the Church is saying no to Christ. Does this remind you of a conversion story from the Acts of Apostles where the protagonist in the narrative hears said: "...why are you persecuting me?"

Sandro Magister's article

The 2004 CDF notification on Jesus, Symbol of God

As Jesuit Father Gerald O'Collins once said: "I wouldn't give my life for Roger Haight's Jesus. It's a triumph of relevance over orthodoxy." Neither would I, would you?

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux offers a power witness to the name of Jesus. Today's feast is a good time to consider the words of Bernard as food for the soul.


I recognize now the name hinted at by Isaiah: "My servants are to be given a new name. Whoever is blessed on earth in that name will be blessed by the Lord, Amen." O blessed name, oil poured out without limit! From heaven it pours down on Judaea and from there over all the earth, so that round the whole world the Church proclaims: "Your name is oil poured out." And what an outpouring! It not only bathes the heavens and the earth, it even bedews the underworld, so that all beings in the heavens and the earth, it even bedews the underworld should bend the knee in the name of Jesus, and that every tongue should Adoration of the Name of Jesus.jpgacclaim: "Your name is oil poured out." Take the name of Christ, take the name of Jesus; both were infused into the angels, both were poured our upon men, even upon men who rotted like animals in their own dung. Thus you became a savior both of men and beasts, so countless are your mercies, O God. How precious your name, and yet how cheap! Cheap, but the instrument of salvation. If it were not cheap it would not have been poured out for me; if it lacked saving power it would not have won me. Made a sharer in the name, I share too in its inheritance. For I am a Christian, Christ's own brother. If I am what I say, I am the heir of God, co-heir with Christ. And what wonder if the name of the Bridegroom is poured out, since he himself is pour out? For he emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave.


Did he not even say: "I am pour out like water"? The fullness of the divine life was poured out and lived on earth in bodily form, that all of us who live in this body doomed to death may receive from that fullness, and being filled with its life-giving odor say: "Your name is oil poured out." Such is what is meant by the outpouring of the name, such its manner, such its extent.


By why the symbol of oil? I have yet to explain this. In the previous sermon I had begun to do so when another matter that seemed to demand mention suddenly presented itself, though I may have dallied with it longer than I intended. In this I resembled the valiant woman, Wisdom, who put her hand to the distaff, her fingers to the spindle. Skillfully she produced from her scanty stock of wool or flax a long spool of thread, out of which she wove the material that made warm clothes for the members of her household. The likeness between oil and the name of the Bridegroom is beyond doubt, the Holy Spirit's comparison of the two is no arbitrary gesture. Unless you can persuade me otherwise, I hold that the likeness is to be found in the threefold property of oil: it gives light, it nourishes, it anoints. It feeds the flame, it nourishes the body, relieves pain: it is light, food, medicine. And is not this true too of the Bridegroom's name? When preached it gives light, when meditated it nourishes, when invoked it relieves and soothes.


How shall we explain the world-wide light of faith, swift and flaming in its progress, except by the preaching of Jesus' name? Is it not by light of this name that God has called us into his wonderful light, that irradiates our darkness and empowers us to see the light? To such as we Paul says: "You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord." This is the name that Paul was commanded to present before kings and pagans and the people of Israel; a name that illumined his native land as he carried it with him like a torch, preaching on all his journeys that the night is almost over, it will be daylight soon -let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark; let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people do in the daytime. To every eye he was a lamp on its lamp-stand; to every place he brought the good news of Jesus, him crucified. What splendor radiated from that light, dazzling the eyes of the crowd, when Peter uttered the name of the strengthened the feet and ankles of the cripple, and gave light to many eyes that were spiritually blind. Did not the words shoot like a flame when he said: "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk"? But the name of Jesus is more than light, it is also food. Do you not feel increase of strength as often as you remember it? What other name can enrich man who meditates? What can equal its power to refresh the harassed senses, to buttress the virtues, to add vigor to good and upright habits, to foster chaste affections? Every food of the mind is dry if it is not dipped in that oil; it is tasteless if not seasoned by that salt. Write what you will, I shall not relish it unless it tells of Jesus. Talk or argue about what you will, I shall not relish it if you exclude the name of Jesus. Jesus to me is honey in the mouth, music in ear, a song in the heart.


Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermon 15 on the Song of Songs.

Most Holy Name of Jesus

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Virgin & child botticelli.jpgLord, may we honor the Holy Name of Jesus enjoy His friendship in this life and be filled with eternal joy in His Kingdom, where He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Jesu Dulcis Memoria


Jesu, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see,
And in thy presence rest!


Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than thy blest name,
O Savior of mankind!


O hope of every contrite heart!
O joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind thou art,
How good to those who seek!


But what to those who find? Ah this
Nor tongue nor pen can show:
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but his lovers know.


O Jesu, light of all below!
Thou Fount of life and fire!
Surpassing all the joys we know,
And all we can desire!


Thee will I seek, at home, abroad,
Who everywhere art nigh;
Thee in my bosom's cell, O Lord,
As on my bed I lie.


With Mary to thy tomb, I'll haste,
Before the dawning skies,
And all around with longing cast
My soul's inquiring eyes;


Beside thy grave will make my moan,
And sob my heart away;
Then at thy feet sink trembling down,
And there adoring stay;


Nor from my tears and sighs refrain,
Nor those dear feet release,
My Jesu, still from thee I gain
Some blessed word of peace!

A Vespers hymn by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (12th century)


The feast of the Holy Name of Jesus  has been celebrated in various places since the fifteenth century and was extended to the whole Catholic Church 20 December 1721 by Pope Innocent XIII but it was a devotion of many holy men and women before this time. There are antecedents which indicate that the faithful's veneration of the Holy Name was encouraged Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Saint Bernardine of Siena and Saint John Capistrano. Various religious orders had their dates for the observance of this feast. Sadly, one of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council was to excise the feast from the liturgical calendar thinking that the Holy name was honored enough in the Divine Office and that the Mass texts were reduced to a Votive Mass. When Pope John Paul II published the third edition of the Roman Missal in 2002 he restored the feast to the liturgical calendar as an optional memorial on the first free day after January 1st, that is January 3rd.


IHS2.jpgBy the time of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and his companions, the newly of priests chose the name of Jesus by which they would identify themselves. With the pope's permission the Loyola called his groups the Company of Jesus, translated into Latin to be the Societas Iesus, hence the Society of Jesus. The image adopted was Saint Bernardine's IHS monogram. The observance of the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, with its Votive Mass, set the tone of mission of the Company of Jesus. As a side note, the Votive Mass of the Holy Name of Jesus was one the Masses offered for the repose of the soul of Avery Cardinal Dulles at the University Chapel at Fordham. The devotion still is observed in the Society of Jesus.


Does your parish have a Holy Name Society? If not, why not ask the pastor to begin one. See the US confraternity's webpage.


About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Christology category from January 2009.

Christology: December 2008 is the previous archive.

Christology: September 2009 is the next archive.

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